Statewide Flex Alert issued: Californians asked to conserve energy

Californians are being asked to conserve energy Thursday.

The California Independent System Operator issued a statewide Flex Alert from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday.

The power grid operator predicts higher than normal electrical demand, due to unseasonably high temperatures across the state.

"With high temperatures in the forecast, the power grid operator predicts an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use. The temperatures are above normal for this time of year, creating an anticipated shortage in energy supply in the late afternoon hours through the evening," said CAISO in a news release.

People are advised to turn off unnecessary lights, delay using major appliances until after 10 p.m. if possible, and set air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher.

CAISO says energy reduction during a Flex Alert can prevent further emergency measures, including rotating power outages.

Other steps Californians can take to conserve energy:

  • Before 3 p.m., "pre-cool" buildings by setting air conditioning thermostats lower than usual; also, charge electronic devices and electric vehicles; and run dishwashers, washers and dryers and other major appliances.
  • After 3 p.m., set thermostat at 78° or higher
  • Cool with fans and draw drapes
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and defer use of appliances

The Flex Alert comes as PG&E turned off power to an estimated 53,000 customers to reduce the risk of wildfires.

The utility's Public Safety Power Shutoff is expected to last through Friday morning.